The Advantages of Grassroots Marketing

Jaime Lebròn

Jaime Lebròn | Director, Medicare/Individual

Building a book of business is the biggest challenge brokers have to contend with. Many new agents entering the insurance arena are looking for ways to generate leads for new sales. So what is the secret formula? Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet or single tactic that will bring constant returns. Success lies in a variety of carefully constructed and reformed strategies. Grassroots marketing enables you to get back to the basics of self-promotion when building a book a business.

Grassroots marketing, otherwise known as guerilla marketing, starts from the ground up. Instead of launching a message intending to appeal to many people, grassroots marketing targets your efforts to a small group with the intent that the message will spread to a much larger audience.

This marketing strategy began in 1984 and was first identified by Jay Conrad Levinson in Guerrilla Marketing. According to Levinson, when implementing guerrilla marketing tactics, smaller organizations and entrepreneurs are actually at an advantage. To reap the benefits of guerrilla marketing, you must construct a message and marketing strategy that will build trust and suit customer needs with the overall goal of establishing a relationship with the customer.

This cost-effective marketing tactic is an alternative option to promote your company and your personal brand to a targeted audience. Unlike traditional marketing, i.e. print media and radio, which can eat up a marketing budget quickly, grassroots marketing strategically and precisely influences your target market.

There are a number of different ways to apply grassroots marketing efforts.

Participating in community events is particularly effective for local promotion, providing ample opportunity for face time with your target audience and establishing your brand as the insurance expert in the community. Inexpensive and engaging, community events are ideal for promoting the services you offer that can help clients save on costs or secure the right benefits.

Additionally, volunteering with local community organizations, including a local food bank, charitable organization, or church may lead to support for your business, as well as networking and referral opportunities. The cost? Your time. The more you participate, the more trust you will create as a local resource.

Distributing and posting marketing materials is also a low-cost effective way to promote your business. For example, tear-off flyers with your general information, phone number, and email address can generate lead calls. The key is to display the flyers in locations throughout the community that garner a lot of traffic from your preferred customer base, such as local pharmacies, grocery stores, churches, car washes, bowling alleys, etc. Of course, you should always ask permission to post and keep tabs on calls received along with replenishing the various locations.

The idea of grassroots marketing is to be unconventional and think outside the box with new ideas. Generating a buzz about your service using marketing tactics that appeal directly to your customer base will continually create opportunities for new business and enhanced visibility.

Get out there!

Use grassroots marketing tactics to build and grow your business at the local level. It takes only drive and discipline to make your marketing strategy a success. Re-evaluate what you are currently doing and figure out what more can you do to readily implement new tactics for self-promotion and drive new business.

Ready to get started?  Cornerstone has the resources available to help jump-start your marketing efforts. The Marketing Assets repository on our exclusive Broker Centric platform offers ready-made, easily customizable flyers, postcards, brochures, and heavily discounted mailers, all accessible 24/7. Connect with your Cornerstone representative today if you have questions about starting up a grassroots marketing campaign or gaining access to the marketing assets on Broker Centric.

Happy selling!

Anthem to Launch New Pharmacy Benefits Manager

Anthem’s new pharmacy benefits manager will be IngenioRx, which will offer a full suite of PBM solutions starting in 2020, coinciding with the conclusion of the company’s current PBM contract.

IngenioRx will serve customers of Anthem affiliated health plans, as well as non-Anthem
customers, with a seamless, integrated experience by taking Anthem’s new model to the
national marketplace. The IngenioRx pharmacy leadership team combined has more than 100
years of experience in the PBM industry, which will be invaluable in helping to ensure a
seamless transition for members.

To learn more, click here.

Earn Up To $200 With The Medical Mutual’s Medicare Supplement Bonus Program

MMO Med Supp bonus programs are an exciting way to be compensated for selling a very competitive and reputable Medicare Supplement plan.

Take advantage of the MMO Med Supp bonus program that will earn you up to $200 an application.


Click here for the full details.

Medical Mutual to Include Northeast Ohio in HMO Strategy

Beginning January 1, 2018, Medical Mutual will expand their HMO strategy to include Northeast Ohio. Members currently enrolled in the MMO Individual ACA Point of Service (POS) product will be mapped to the new network, Northeast Ohio HMO.

Medical Mutual will also be expanding their individual portfolio to the following counties…

Mercy HMO
  • Allen
  • Auglaize
  • Brown
  • Butler
  • Champaign
  • Clark
  • Clermont
  • Columbiana
  • Defiance
  • Fulton
  • Hamilton
  • Hancock
  • Henry
  • Huron
  • Lorain
  • Lucas
  • Mahoning
  • Mercer
  • Putnam
  • Seneca
  • Trumbull
  • Wood
OhioHealth HMO
  • Athens
  • Delaware
  • Fairfield
  • Franklin
  • Hardin
  • Hocking
  • Licking
  • Marion
  • Morrow
  • Richland
  • Union
  • Ashland
  • Ashtabula
  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Summit
ProMedica HMO
  • Lucas
  • Wood

Clearing Cache and Cookies for FormFire

FormFire users: If you are experiencing issues today with seeing the complete Employee List under your clients you need to clear your Cookies and Cache. Here are the easy instructions on how to do this for both Mozilla FireFox or Internet Explorer:

Internet Explorer:

  • Open Internet Explorer
  • Click on the tools drop down
  • Click on Internet options
  • Click the delete button in the Browsing history section
  • Check the box next to the information you want to delete
  • Press delete at the bottom of the box


  • Click on Tools then Options. Select Privacy on the menu on the left.
  • Under the History category you will select the link stating, “clear your recent history”.
  • This will open another menu called Clear All History.
  • Under Details uncheck all but Cookies and Cache and hit “Clear Now”.

Update on Executive Order and CSRs

On October 12, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order intended to improve access, increase choices, and lower costs for health care. The order states that it is the policy of the executive branch to facilitate the purchase of insurance across state lines. The order contains three primary directives addressing Association Health Plans, Short-Term Insurance Policies, and Health Reimbursement Arrangements:

  1. Directing the Secretary of Labor to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to enable more employers to form association health plans (AHP) within 60 days of the date of the order.
  2. Directing the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to expand the availability of short-term limited duration insurance within 60 days of the date of the order. Specifically, the Secretaries are directed to consider allowing such policies to cover longer periods and to be renewed by the consumer.
  3. Directing the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to increase the usability of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and to expand employers’ ability to offer HRAs to employees within 120 days of the date of the order.

The order also directs HHS, in consultation with the secretaries of the Treasury, Labor and FTC, to report to the president on state and federal laws, regulations and policies that limit health competition and choice.

Cornerstone will continue to monitor any proposed changes in response to President Trump’s executive order. While this order may mark the beginning of significant changes to health insurance markets, it remains important for brokers to educate their clients on the current ACA regulations and potential penalties throughout this upcoming open enrollment.


Elimination of Payments for Cost-Sharing Reductions

The Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR) were not addressed in the Executive Order issued on October 12, 2017. However, on the same day, the administration announced they would no longer make CSR payments to insurers.

CSRs are a subsidy created by the ACA and paid directly to health insurers. The subsidies provided lower out-of-pocket costs in the form of reduced deductibles, co-pays, and other expenses for silver-level plans purchased through the health care exchange.

The fate of CSRs has been in question for some time due to Congress failing to appropriate funding for the CSRs. During the Obama administration, the House of Representatives successfully sued to end the CSR payments. However, the payments continued while the case was being appealed by the Obama administration. Under the Trump administration, it remained unclear whether or not the appeal and CSR payments would continue. The administration has taken a month-to-month approach in deciding whether or not to pay the CSRs to insurers. Effective beginning with the upcoming October CSR payment, the administration will no longer pay CSRs and takes the position that the CSRs are prohibited, absent an appropriation by Congress.

In response to this announcement, a number of states are reportedly filing suit against the administration in an effort to continue payment of the subsidies.

The CSRs are separate from the subsidies paid directly to qualifying consumers to offset premium costs when purchasing a plan through the exchange. Those subsidies are not affected by this announcement. Additionally, consumers will not see a change in the costs of their plans for the remainder of 2017.

Many insurers have reportedly been preparing for the elimination of the CSR payments by filing an alternative set of rates that reflect significantly higher premiums for 2018 plans.


Individual Mandate and Associated Shared Responsibility Payment

The executive order issued last week along with the executive order issued in January does not eliminate the Individual Mandate or its associated penalties. The IRS has repeatedly indicated that the ACA remains the law of the land and that penalties associated with the individual mandate will be assessed. Most recently, in a “Dear Constituent Letter” issued this past June, the IRS indicated:

“The Executive Order does not change the law; the legislative provisions of the ACA are still in force until changed by the Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law, including the requirement to have minimum essential coverage for each month, qualify for a coverage exemption for the month, or make a share responsibility payment.”

The penalty tax is calculated as the greater of either the “percentage of applicable income amount” or the “flat dollar amount.” The greater of these two amounts is then divided by 12 to determine the penalty that is due for each month that the penalty applies.

The penalty amounts for 2018 have not yet been announced.

For 2017 the penalty was calculated according to the following amounts:

Percentage of income

  • 2.5% of household income
  • Maximum: Total yearly premium for the national average price of a Bronze plan sold through the Marketplace

Per person

  • $695 per adult
  • $347.50 per child under 18
  • Maximum: $2,085

Updates to UHC Prescription Drug Lists

The following updates will take effect for the UnitedHealthcare Prescription Drug Lists (PDLs) Jan. 1, 2018. These updates apply to all UnitedHealthcare integrated commercial business. They do not apply to direct commercial business (OptumRx direct business without UnitedHealthcare medical coverage).

UnitedHealthcare Pharmacy Benefits

View UnitedHealthcare’s online, pre-recorded presentation of the pharmacy benefit strategies for Jan. 1, 2018.

Presentation for Clients

Click here to read more.


PDL Tracker


Anthem to Offer New Musculoskeletal and Pain Management Solution

Beginning in November, Anthem will offer a new comprehensive Musculoskeletal and Pain Management Solution, administered by AIM Specialty Health. This program reviews certain spine and join surgeries, and interventional pain services against clinical criteria to help make sure the care is appropriate and that it aligns with established evidence-based medicine.

The MSK program also includes an initiative to help get members engaged. Before any scheduled
procedure, they get information that educates them about the surgery or treatment. This initiative is
designed to drive adherence to care plans, motivate preventive action, and improve appropriate use
of care.

Starting in November 2017, the MSK program will be available only in certain states where Anthem does
business. The program will continue to expand into other states throughout 2018. It will be made
available to National Accounts in January 2019.

Here is the roll-out schedule for the new MSK program:

  • November 1, 2017: Fully insured groups in Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin (Indiana is
  • March 1, 2018: Fully insured groups in Georgia, Virginia, New York, New Hampshire,
  • March 1, 2018: Fully insured groups in Georgia, Virginia, New York, New Hampshire,
    Connecticut, Maine, Colorado, Nevada, California
  • July 1, 2018: ASO (Administrative Services Only) groups
  • July 1, 2018: ASO (Administrative Services Only) groups
  • January 1, 2019: National Accounts
  • January 1, 2019: National Accounts

Humana: COPC Back in Network

Humana is happy to announce that Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC) in Columbus, OH will continue to be in network for all Humana products (HMO, PPO, and PFFS) heading into 2018.


Read More Here

URGENT NEWS: Humana MP MISPRINT on Walmart PDP flyers & PDP POP Brochures

Please discard ALL Humana Walmart PDP flyers and Walmart PDP POP brochures that you may have received and delete any Walmart PDP flyer and Walmart PDP POP brochure PDF’s that may have been saved. There is an incorrect $400 deductible listed on these pieces when in fact the Walmart PDP has a $405 deductible on T3, T4 and T5.

Humana will be reprinting and redistributing once they are corrected.  Please see a list of form numbers below that were impacted.

Walmart PDP GNHH30IHH_18 BROCHURE – 2018 PDP – POP Walmart, ENGLISH, Individual Medicare 1000 SPM_POPB_PDPW_MA_18
Walmart Bankers  GNHH30IHHBL_18 BROCHURE – 2018  PDP – POP Walmart, ENGLISH, BANKERS, Individual Medicare 1000 SPM_POPB_PDPW_MA_18BL
Walmart Spanish GNHH30ISP_18 BROCHURE – 2018 PDP – POP Walmart, SPANISH, Individual Medicare 500 SPM_POPB_PDPW_MA_SP_18
Chinese (electronic) GNHH30ICH_18 BROCHURE – 2018  PDP – POP Walmart, CHINESE, Individual Medicare N/A Y0040_SPM_POPB_PDPW_MA_CH_18
Vietnamese (electronic) GNHH30IVI_18 BROCHURE – 2018 PDP – POP Walmart, VIETNAMESE, Individual Medicare N/A Y0040_SPM_POPB_PDPW_MA_VI_18
Creole (electronic) GNHH30ICR_18 BROCHURE – 2018 PDP – POP Walmart, CREOLE, Individual Medicare N/A Y0040_SPM_POPB_PDPW_MA_CR_18
Korean (electronic) GNHH30IKO_18 BROCHURE – 2018  PDP – POP Walmart, KOREAN, Individual Medicare N/A Y0040_SPM_POPB_PDPW_MA_KO_18
Polish (electronic) GNHH30IPL_18 BROCHURE – 2018  PDP – POP Walmart, POLISH, Ind. Medicare N/A Y0040_SPM_POPB_PDPW_MA_PL_18
PDP Walmart “Outlier”  GNHJC36EN
Walmart Rx GNHHM52HH_18 FLYER – 2018 Humana Walmart Rx PDP Plan, ENGLISH, Individual Medicare 500 SPM_FLY_PDPW_18
Walmart Rx/Spanish GNHHM52SP_18 FLYER – 2018  Humana Walmart Rx PDP Plan, SPANISH, Individual Medicare 250 SPM_FLY_PDPW_SP_18